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Southeast Regional Reports

Regional Picks: Showy Shrubs – Southeast

Fine Gardening – Issue 191

1. ‘Hummingbird’ Summersweet

‘Hummingbird’ Summersweet
Photo: Steve Aitken

Name: Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’

Zones: 3–9

Size: 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; consistently moist soil

Native range: Maine to Florida and west to Texas

As sweet and delightful as its avian name implies, ‘Hummingbird’ is more compact and mounded than the straight species, with a greater profusion of sweetly fragrant midsummer blooms. Its flowers attract bees and butterflies, adding to its charm and whimsy. Clethra is deciduous and has appealing golden yellow fall color. I prefer to leave mature seed heads through winter to maintain year-round interest, leaving any tidying and pruning for late winter. In its native habitat, it grows in sandy, wet soils but tolerates our Southern clay soils well. Plant it in an area where the soil does not dry out completely.


2. ‘Pee Wee’ Oakleaf Hydrangea

‘Pee Wee’ Oakleaf Hydrangea
Photo: millettephotomedia.com

Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’

Zones: 5–9


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